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Growltiger's Last Stand is a dream sequence in the musical "Cats", in which Gus the Theatre Cat reminisces about one of his favourite roles, playing the fearsome pirate, Growltiger.

In addition to Gus changing into Growltiger onstage, the number also features Jellylorum as Griddlebone, the Raffish Crew, and the Siamese.

Due to filming time constraints, the whole sequence was cut from the 1998 movie.

ContextEdit

Musically this number divides into several sub-sections:

  • Growltiger and the Raffish Crew
  • Griddlebone's Introduction
  • The Lover's Duet
  • The Siamese Attack.

The sequence starts as Gus transforms into Growltiger centre-stage (by removing his large blanket coat to reveal the pirate costume underneath, and adding an eye patch). The members of the Raffish Crew sing about Growltiger, while he shows off and impresses the audience. The musical mood changes to a lush Puccini-esque romantic melody as Griddlebone arrives, and is brought onstage by the crew. The lovers sing their duet, but as the applause dies down, the Siamese attack. In the chaos Griddlebone escapes, Growltiger fights for his life, but a duel with Genghis is never going to save his life when surrounded by his enemies. Soon Growltiger is disarmed and forced to jump to his death. The Siamese sing of their victory, and as the last notes echo, Gus re-appears in the present. He takes a final bow to Genghis, and sings a short reprise of "These modern productions are all very well/ But there's nothing to equal from what, I hear tell,/That moment of mystery as I made history...."

Brazil Growl Griddle Crew

The original concept for the Lover's Duet was for Growltiger and Griddlebone to perform the Puccini-style aria "In Una Tepida Notte", however when Susan Jane Tanner was cast as Jellylorum/Griddlebone, the decision was made to simplify the vocal part and make the duet a drinking song "Billy Macaw," offering as much comedic potential without the demands of a legitimate soprano part.  When the show transferred to Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber took the opportunity to revert to the original plan and include the Aria.

In some early productions, the role of Griddlebone was played by Jennyanydots rather than Jellylorum.

Besides the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical setting in Cats, the English composer Humphrey Searle composed a musical setting of "Growltiger's Last Stand" as the second of his Two Practical Cats for speaker, flute, cello and guitar.

Revised Version Edit

Uk15 16 Growltiger

"Growltiger's Last Stand" was heavily re-worked for the 2014 Palladium production, the opening section completely re-written as a smoky jazz number mostly sung by Growltiger in the first person. It has many lyric alterations and re-writes. Growltiger no longer has a pirate cutlass, but rather a Cosh as a weapon. The Raffish Crew are busy raising a sail from the side of the set, which covers the upper stage, and they wheel on a barrel-shaped couch.

The slow Jazz sound is dramatically contrasted by the arrival of Griddlebone, with the unchanged Puccini-esque romantic melody. There are some minor lyric changes in Griddlebone's introduction, "The tender moon was shining bright" is replaced by "A lover's moon...", and Griddlebone sings her own introduction in first person in the same manner as Growltiger did.

The Lover's duet was cut altogether in the first Palladium run, as Growltiger and Griddlebone seemed about to settle down together, the Siamese attacked. However for the later Palladium run, a new version of the Aria was introduced. Whereas the original version of "In Una Tepida Notte" is clearly a Puccini pastiche, and staged as a very over-the-top operatic performance of two big stars trying to out-shine each other, the new version sounds like a Venetian ballad, and is played straight without any comedy.

The Siamese attack was also re-written, rather than having an eastern pentatonic influence the new composition is a strident atonal and arythmic piece. Growltiger no longer duels for his life, a pirate who dies without a sword fight?!

The 2016 Broadway production removed the number entirely, having Gus instead reminisce about playing Rumpus Cat in The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles.

LyricsEdit

Growltiger and the Raffish CrewEdit

Growltiger was a bravo cat who travelled on a barge
In fact he was the roughest cat that ever roamed at large
From Gravesend up to Oxford he pursued his evil aims
Rejoicing in his title of the "Terror of the Thames"

His manners and appearance did not calculate to please
His coat was torn and seedy, it was baggy at the knees
One ear was somewhat missing, no need to tell you why
And he scowled upon a hostile world from one forbidding eye


The cottagers of Rotherhithe knew something of his fame
At Hammersmith and Putney, people shuddered at his name
They would fortify the hen house, lock up the silly goose
When the rumor ran along the shore: Growltiger's on the loose!

Woe to the weak canary that fluttered from its cage
Woe to the pampered Pekinese, that faced Growltiger's rage
Woe the bristly Bandicoot that lurks on foreign ships
And woe to any cat with whom Growltiger came to grips

But most to cats of foreign race his hatred had been vowed
To cats of foreign name and race, no quarter was allowed
The Persian and the Siamese regarded him with fear
Because it was a Siamese had mauled his missing ear

Griddlebone's IntroductionEdit

Now on a peaceful summer night all nature seemed at play
The tender moon was shining bright, the barge at Molesey lay
All in the balmy moonlight it lay rocking on the tide
And Growltiger was disposed to show his sentimental side

In the forepeak of the vessel, Growltiger stood alone
Concentrating his attention on the lady Griddlebone
And his raffish crew were sleeping in their barrels and their bunks
As the Siamese came creeping in their sampans and their junks

Growltiger had no eye or ear for aught but Griddlebone
And the lady seemed enraptured by my manly baritone
Disposed to relaxation and awaiting no surprise
But the moonlight shone reflected from a thousand bright blue eyes

And closer still and closer the sampans circled 'round
And yet from all the enemy there was not heard a sound
The foe was armed with toasting forks and cruel carving knives
And the lovers sang their last duet in danger of their lives

The Lover's Duet - The Ballad of Billy MacawEdit

GROWLTIGER:

Oh, how well I remember "The Old Bull and Bush",
Where we used to go down of a Saturday night,
Where, when anythink happened, it come with a rush,
For the boss, Mr Clark, He was very polite;
A very nice House, from basement to garret
A very nice House. Ah, but it was the parrot
The parrot, the parrot named Billy M’Caw
That brought all those folk to the bar.
Ah! he was the life of the bar!

Of a Saturday night, we was all feeling bright.
And Lily La Rose, the barmaid that was,
She’d sing “Billy, Billy M’Caw!
Come give us, come give us a dance at the bar!”
And Billy would dance on the bar
And Billy would dance on the bar
And then we’d feel balmy, in each eye a tear,
And emotion would make us all order more beer.

Lily, she was a girl what had brains in her head;
She wouldn’t have nothink, no, not that much said.
If it come to an argument, or a dispute,
She’d settle it off-hand with the toe of her boot
Or as likely as not put her fist through your eye.
But when we was happy, and just a bit dry,
Or when we was thirsty, and just a bit sad,
She would rap on the bar with that corkscrew she had -

GRIDDLEBONE:
And say "Billy, Billy M’Caw!
Come give us a tune on pastoral flute!"
And Billy’d strike up on his pastoral flute,
GROWLTIGER AND GRIDDLEBONE:
And Billy’d strike up on his pastoral flute.
And then we’d feel balmy, in each eye a tear,
And emotion would make us all order more beer.
GRIDDLEBONE + BOOTH:
Billy, Billy M’Caw!
Come give us a tune on your moley guitar!
GROWLTIGER:
And Billy’d strike up on his moley guitar,
And Billy’d strike up on his moley guitar.
GROWLTIGER AND GRIDDLEBONE:
And then we’d feel balmy in each eye a tear.
And emotion would make us all order more beer
GROWLTIGER AND GRIDDLEBONE + SIAMESE + BOOTH:
Billy, Billy M’Caw!
Come give us a tune on your moley guitar!
GROWLTIGER AND GRIDDLEBONE:
Ah! He was the life of the bar!
All:
Yes, he was the life of the bar!

Duet - In Una Tepida Notte Edit

Growltiger:

In una tepida notte d'estate, allorche la natura
Era nel pieno fulgore, e la fresca rugiada
Splendiva al chiar di luna sopra la verzura,
Si poteva vedere il galeone ancorato

Oscillare in silenzio nel vento profumato,
Dalla marea del naviglio serenemente cullato
In quella tepida notte che c'e dunque di male
Se intanta poesia il pirata divento sentimentale?

Growltiger and Griddlebone:

Oscillare in silenzio nel vento profumato,
Dalla marea del naviglio serenamente cullato
In quella tepida notte
In quella tepida notte
In quella tepida notte


The Siamese AttackEdit

Then Genghis gave the signal to his fierce Mongolian horde
With a frightful burst of fireworks, the Siamese swarmed aboard
Abandoning their sampans, their pullaways, and junks
They battened down the hatches on the crew within their bunks

Then Griddlebone she gave a screech for she was badly skeered
I am sorry to admit it, but she quickly disappeared
She probably escaped with ease I'm sure she was not drowned
But a serried ring of flashing steel Growltiger did surround

The ruthless foe pressed forward in stubborn rank on rank
Growltiger to his vast surprise was forced to walk the plank
He who a hundred victims had driven to that drop
At the end of all his crimes was forced to go kerflip, kerflop

Oh there was joy in Wapping when the news flew through the land
At Maidenhead and Henley there was dancing on the Strand
Rats were roasted whole in Brentford and Victoria Dock
And a day of celebration was commanded in Bangkok!

(Coda - Gus the Theatre Cat)Edit

These modern productions are all very well
But there's nothing to equal from what I hear tell
That moment of mystery when I made history...


VideoEdit

Growltiger's Last Stand ()08:47

Growltiger's Last Stand ()

Growltiger's last stand with Italian Aria

Growlitger's Last Stand including the Ballad of Billy McCaw-009:41

Growlitger's Last Stand including the Ballad of Billy McCaw-0

Audio - "Growltigers Last Stand" and "The Ballad of Billy Macaw"

1982 Original Broadway Cast-011:48

1982 Original Broadway Cast-0

Growltiger's last stand with Italian aria

GalleryEdit

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